A Perfect Fit
The glassed-in porch, or sunroom, is furnished with couches and chairs from Villa Vici. An 19th-century Italian altar crown sits on a marble top table from St. Romain Interiors. The 19th-century French dough bowl is from Antiques de Provence.
When you walk through Fran and Frank Whiteley’s gracious Uptown home, you get the feeling the family has occupied the house for decades. In fact, the Whiteleys just moved in about a year ago, after spending 25 years in Algiers and 10 years in Covington. Fran Whiteley, who does her own decorating, gave her new house that comfortable look by incorporating into the décor so many of the beautiful things she and her husband have collected over the years. “Almost everything I had in Covington fit in this house,” she says. That house was featured in this magazine in April 2004.
Fran says she has never been one to buy a piece of furniture or work of art to fill a spot. Rather, she buys what she loves, and somehow always finds just the right place to put it. Her present home, which is more than 100 years old, gives her lots of decorating opportunities because it has many of the “nooks and crannies,” she says, that give older houses their character.
The front courtyard is paved with brick and is walled in to create privacy. The fountain is from French Fountains. The table and chairs are made of stone and are from Historic Garden and Company. Fran Whiteley does her own gardening.
The front of the house features a glassed-in porch that overlooks a bricked courtyard. Fran has furnished the porch with comfortable sofas, chairs and a small dining set where she and her husband like to eat breakfast. The courtyard has been landscaped to give it an Italian look and provides a restful view. Furnishings and accents carry out the cream-and-gold color theme seen throughout the house.
The dining room’s centerpiece
is a pub table from Scotland.
The home’s large entryway is dominated by a marble table topped with a cream-colored iron “tree” that Whiteley has adorned with large crystals. She likes to decorate the table in holiday themes, which pleases her frequent companion, grandson Frank Whiteley IV, who is 2 1/2 years old. He and his parents, Frank III and Conlee, live just a few houses away. The tabletop also displays some of Fran’s of extensive creamware collection from Longue Vue House and Garden’s gift shop.
The dining room features a table that once graced a pub in Scotland; Fran likes to point out the marks on the legs where dogs chewed as they waited for their masters to have a drink. Wooden panels from a church hang over the fireplace. Frank Whiteley collects religious art, and those pieces are displayed
in just about every room in the house.
A marble topped, burled walnut chest from Atelier creates a pretty storage spot in the dining room.
Upstairs the house has three bedrooms, each with its own bath, plus a large landing the Whiteleys use as a sitting room. The master bedroom, done in soft shades of cream, pink and green, contains a French cigarette chair and a china coffee set given to Fran by her daughter, Ann Gutter, a decorator with Atelier in Covington. A second bedroom is ideal for grandson Frank’s naps. The third bedroom is used as a den. On the walls, Fran framed old documents written in German that pertain to her husband’s family.
Fran says her grandson doesn’t have any problems playing in his grandparents’ beautifully furnished home because he has learned one very useful rule: “If it’s white, don’t touch it.” It also helps that she’s turned a small potting shed in the courtyard into a little fellow’s hideaway—complete with a television, microwave, refrigerator and a dwarf black bunny, named Little Rabbit Foo Foo, just right to cuddle.
In the entryway, a “tree” from the Plant Gallery is adorned with crystal votives. Fran Whiteley can take those down and decorate it for any season. On the table is part of the collection of creamware from the Shop at Longue Vue House and Gardens that Frank Whiteley bought as a gift for Fran. The mirror is from Antiques de Provence. The lamps are from Villa Vici.
The Whiteleys’ dog Jake stands guard over the living room on a couch from Villa Vici. Behind him is the religious art the Whiteleys collect. Of note is the reliquary, which holds a relic of St. Venantius of Camerino, who died circa 250 in Italy. It is from Whisnant Galleries. The marble mantel is original to the house.
The dwarf black rabbit, Little Rabbit Foo Foo.
The kitchen is anchored by a French fruitwood workbench, 1890, from Wirthmore Antiques. The giclée “One Cat in Da Attic” is by Holly Sarre. The wooden totemic figure is from New Guinea.
The master bedroom is decorated in cool, subtle colors.